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Parents Victoria recently met with the CEO of Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden (SAKG) to exchange thoughts and ideas and discuss the work and priorities of both organisations.   SAKG has shared this article from a former student who participated in the SAKG program.

Hi, I am Alexandra McArthur and I went to North Melbourne Primary School. North Melbourne Primary School runs the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program which is a part of the school curriculum from year 3 to 6. As a part of the Program we had a massive garden that was looked after and taken care of by the Preps to Grade 2. The garden was full of fresh vegetables that we used in our cooking. The point of the garden is to teach the younger year levels about vegetables, how to grow them and how to take care of them, but for the older year levels the garden was used as a fresh food source for their cooking. I had 1 Kitchen Garden teacher for all 3 years, and her name was Sam. Sam was very passionate about teaching us about health and balanced diets, she took every opportunity she could to teach the class about the food we were eating. Sam always tried to use as many vegetables from the school garden as possible.

How it works

After our class harvested the ingredients from the garden, we had 2 hours to cook the recipes for the day. Everyone was split into groups and every group cooked different meals. At the end of the lesson, we sat at our tables and shared all the delicious and fresh food we made. My favourite thing about the Program is when we got to sit down at the end, and eat the food you freshly made with your friends and teachers. The best thing about eating the food with everyone is that the dishes that are made in the Program are always delicious and seasonal. From this Program not only have I have learnt about a healthy balanced diet, but I have also learnt that healthy eating can be exciting and delicious.

The benefits

I am now in year 8 at Wesley College and I think that the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program has taught me to branch out and try new things. During this program we made food that had ingredients that we didn’t like in them, but Sam always said you must try everything we made because you never know if you will like the food cooked this way or in this meal. What amazed me and the other students in my class was that the food was generally amazing, and we loved it. If it wasn’t for this program and Sam, I think that I would have gone a massive amount of time avoiding the foods that I didn’t like, instead I was impressed by the food and trying it in a new way. Now I enjoy cooking and baking at home for my family.

Next year I go off to Clunes with my school and this means I will be away from home for a term. We have to live with friends and do everything ourselves including food shopping, cooking and cleaning but I think that the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program has prepared me.

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Take a minute to check out the new Family Engagement Network 
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The following chart describes the different roles and types of behaviour that can help a group achieve its short or long term goals. Group members should perform these functions as they are needed.

A petition is a demonstration that the aims of your campaign are supported by a substantial number of people. Petitions provide an effective way of getting support from the wider school community. However, they are seldom effective on their own and should only be used together with other methods in a campaign. Deciding to use a petition will depend on the particular situation.

The general form of a petition is as follows:

  1. Description of the person or organisation you are petitioning ("To Mr X, Principal of Jonesville School").
  2. A description of your group that is accurate and covers everyone ("We, the parents and citizens associated with Jonesville School...").
  3. A short statement of the situation ("Are appalled at the dilapidated and dangerous state of repair of the school buildings.").
  4. A statement of what you want done about it ("We request the Department of Education to arrange for immediate maintenance and refurbishing work to be carried out."). This is the crucial part and must be absolutely clear so people have no doubt about what they are signing. Your demands should be as succinct as possible.
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Name                       Address                     Signature

This makes it easy to count how many signatures you have.

Each sheet should have the statements 1 - 5 at the top. You should not attach lists of signatures to one statement as it is no proof that the signatures support that particular petition.

Organising the petition:

The face to face approach is the most effective, so don’t forget to use public places such as pubs, workplaces, shopping centres and outside the school when parents drop off and pick up kids. Always check for duplicate signatures and joke signatures that can discredit or invalidate your petition. People tend not to like being the first to sign so show them other completed pages when starting new sheets. Don’t forget to tell people what happens to the petition when all the signatures are collected (e.g. “We will be sending the petition to the Minister for Education.”).

Online petitions

Online petitions are convenient and offer the opportunity to gather support with far less leg-work. Opinions differ about whether they are effective, but the same might be said of any type of petition. There are many online petition sites, for example and Petition Online.

Petitions to Parliament:

There are strict rules to follow if you want to present a petition to Parliament and slightly different forms for Federal and State Levels. They have to be presented by a member of parliament so it’s important that you get local member support as members are not compelled to present a petition that you simply send to them. Appropriate forms are available from your local member of parliament’s office.

See Federal Parliament petitions page

See Victorian Parliament petitions page

Lets Work Together low res

Straight from Parents Victoria's conference, Thursday October 13 the PV Executive team attended the Australian Principal's Federation (APF) dinner for a very special launch.

Professor Bill Lucas, Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning and Professor of Learning at the University of Winchester and International Adviser, Mitchell Institute,launched the resource for Principals and parents called Let's Work Together - The Importance of Relationships.

The resource

As the resource explains:

"An engaged school community is the best marketing tool any school can have."



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